Every situation is different, but here are some suggestions:
- Hire an attorney to seek relief from the court. Restrictions on parenting time can be required where there is serious endangerment of a child. This includes physical and emotional harm. Some restrictions can include supervised parenting time, prohibition of overnight parenting time, or the use of parenting coaches.
- Consider resources such as SoberLink (www.soberlink.com) to ensure that a parent does not drive with children while under the influence of alcohol.
- Utilize Our Family Wizard (www.ourfamilywizard.com) so that communications can be monitored by attorneys and the court if necessary.
- Call the police. If a child has been injured, abused or is otherwise at risk of harm, do not hesitate to call. A report will document the circumstances and may provide a witness to be used later, if necessary. The police can be helpful in calming people so safety can be restored.
- Get the child to appropriate medical professionals such as the Emergency Room, their medical doctor or psychologist without delay.
- Contact DCFS, but the agency’s resources are limited so this is never an final solution. Don’t expect to rely on DCFS staff to support your position. Make sure witnesses are identified with phone numbers and addresses.
- Navigate to a resolution with the collaborative law process (www.collablawil.org) which often includes a representative for the children, a financial neutral and a mental health professional/coach.
- Obtain an Order of Protection. You can utilize Turning Point (www.turnpt.org) to do this. An Order of Protection is NOT a guarantee of safety. If someone is intending to harm another, a piece of paper containing a court order is not likely to be effective and may result in a false sense of security. Many times, it is a piece of paper that makes things worse.
Wakeman Law Group
741 S. McHenry Avenue
Crystal Lake, IL 60014